Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed rule to rescind the Obama administration’s “Waters of the United States” regulation:
“The Trump administration today has taken the next step toward stopping Washington regulation of Tennessee farmers’ mud puddles. I’ve been fighting this regulation since it was announced because it gave the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers the ability to regulate nearly all the water in the country. I’m glad President Trump and his administration are taking the next step toward stopping it.”
The proposed rule announced today would rescind the Obama administration’s expansion of the definition of “Waters of the United States” regulation. This new proposal will give power back to the states and help Tennessee’s farmers and businesses by giving them certainty about which regulations they have to comply with.
Senator Alexander, who is chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee which funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has cosponsored legislation to prohibit and voted in support of legislation to prohibit the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from implementing the Obama Administration’s “Waters of the United States” regulation.
The Obama Administration regulation went into effect on May 27, 2015, and expanded federal control over waters that were previously not subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. On Oct. 9, 2015, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision that delayed enforcement of the Waters of the United States regulation.
Also, Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III joined West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, and 19 other state attorneys general in applauding the repeal of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS).
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a notice to withdraw the Obama-era rule.
“We fully support the action taken by EPA Administrator Pruitt,” General Slatery said. “The WOTUS Rule would allow the federal government to claim regulatory authority clearly left to the states. It is unlawful under the Clean Water Act, U.S. Supreme Court precedent, and the U.S. Constitution.”
Attorney General Slattery said, "The WOTUS Rule’s broad assertion of authority unlawfully encroaches on the States’ traditional role as the primary regulators of land and water resources. The Rule asserts sweeping federal authority over usually dry channels, roadside ditches, and isolated streams. The Rule also asserts federal authority over land covered by water only once every one hundred years."
In 2015, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the states and issued a nationwide stay blocking enforcement of the WOTUS Rule.
Attorneys General from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky join Tennessee in supporting today’s EPA decision.